Rifle Calibers Charts

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

Before explaining what exactly rifle calibers charts are, what they do, or how important they are, there are a few terms we must know about.


The word “caliber” is often associated with anything related to guns of all sorts. In reality, caliber is the total internal width of the barrel of a gun. As the bullet's width will be the same as the internal barrel width, the word caliber describes the width of the bullet as well.

The width of the bullet is often measured in inches and fractions of an inch. For example, a .22 caliber bullet would be described as such: “It's a small bullet used to take the small game”. The same concept could apply to any other caliber, such as .50caliber or 7mm caliber bullets.

Another more commonly known use of the word caliber is found in handguns. There are four categories of handgun calibers based on their total diameter, being Parabellum (.354), Nambu (.355), Tokarev (.361), and Smith & Wesson (.324).

For rifles, there are also multiple categories, depending on the exact dimensions. It just so happens that .30 caliber rounds are the most common in modern rifles. The .30 caliber rounds are considered to be short action rifle cartridges, while large caliber rounds are long action rifle cartridges.


The term “cartridge” is used to describe the complete mechanical unit of the gun that fires/propels the bullet out of the barrel.

“Rifle calibers charts” is a special type of graph that aims to visually present data about different cartridges, their measurements, and other important information. Cartridges come in a wide array of sizes and represent different loadings. What does this mean? Simply put, loadings describe the amount or power of gunpowder inside the cartridge.

There are three types of loadings: overloading, maximum standard, and reduced standard. In an overloading cartridge, there's more gunpowder than needed for proper usage - it's called overloading because there's too much powder used for what it was intended for.

Maximum standard loadings have exactly as much powder as they need - nothing more and nothing less. Reduced standards were created when a gunpowder company decided to create a cartridge with less powder than needed for maximum standard loadings. The reduced loads are very popular among hunters since it makes their rifles slightly lighter to carry around and ensures that the gun can be properly loaded even when there's snow or rain involved.

Most cartridges made today are designed for modern firearms models, which has led many companies to design new rifle calibers charts every year, to keep up with the newest firearm models.

What's the relation between the caliber and cartridge of a gun?

These terms are quite different from one another individually, both in terms of meaning and practical application. But collectively, these terms lay the foundation of the rifle calibers charts.

Rifle calibers charts use cartridge, caliber, and yard energy to determine which gun falls under which category. Like the .308 Winchester will have a cartridge of 0.308 with the ability to shoot .300 caliber bullets. This allows the firearms manufacturers to manufacture the guns according to a specific unit.

What are Rifle-Caliber Charts exactly?

So, now you fully understand what caliber and cartridge are, time to discuss rifle calibers charts and how they are designed. Any rifle calibers chart uses three parameters as a scale to describe any gun. The caliber, cartridge, and the 100 Yard Energy (ft. Lbs). Some charts also contain an additional column showing the animal that the respective gun can hunt as well.

The 100 Yard energy describes the overall firing range of the gun. If the 100 Yard energy and the caliber of the gun have a high rating, the gun will be suitable for hunting large land animals and vice versa.

The most important aspects while making a chart are:

  • the size of the yard the cartridge will be used for, and the size of the yard that can be hunted;
  • type of rifle (bolt, lever, semi-auto);
  • hunting with or without scopes is also a very important factor to take into consideration;
  • kinetic energy;
  • weight of the rifle.

How to compare your gun with the chart?

If you're a hunter, you must know all the details and capacities of your gun. It is important as the firearm will be the only thing between you and a horrible animal attack during the hunt, especially large animals. That's why most of the hunters keep a rifle calibers chart with them all the time.

The first thing you need to check is the caliber of your gun. Make sure the gun you are carrying has a high caliber rate if you plan to hunt large animals. Second, take a look at the 100 Yard Range of the gun. This will help you to relocate successfully when the target is in sight.

Make sure that the ammunition you carry is enough for a successful hunt. This means that if you're hunting with .300 Winchester Magnum, make sure your cartridge holds more than 20 bullets in it. Also, keep in mind that most animals run away when they get hurt badly by their attack.

Do not forget too about how much weight you can carry and still maintain accuracy and speed while carrying your rifle for a long time during the hunt. The perfect balance between these elements will help you to hit your target accurately and prevent any injuries caused by fatigue after hours of waiting under the sun!

Rifle Caliber Charts: Is everything accurate?

The data mentioned in a rifle calibers chart is accurate and updated. That's because a rifle calibers chart plays a vital role in the overall hunt planning by hunters around the globe. But lack of ability to read the chart can make things complicated.

The caliber rating of the guns is always accurate. However, the cartridge rating isn't always precise as companies prefer to rate or name the gun cartridge. This is where it gets a little complicated for most people.

Every rifle calibers chart has a different guideline in terms of which cartridges are listed and which aren't. If you decide to check one gun's caliber from two charts, you will notice significant differences in the list of cartridges. The reason behind this difference is that some hunters prefer fast cartridges while some other hunters may want maximum weight on their bullets to kill large animals with extreme ease.

Rifle caliber Charts: last tip before going out!

Always carry a gun that shoots .300 or higher if you're planning for an African Safari or another hunt in larger land areas with large land animals. Choose a cartridge with more than 15 bullets inside it when hunting large land animals like elk, impala, boars, etc.

Bottom line

Rifle calibers charts are a very important resource for hunters, especially those who like hunting large land animals. Make sure you keep the cartridge and caliber of your gun updated with a rifle calibers chart to stay safe!